Singers, Here's How to Make Cover Songs REALLY Stand Out

Singing popular cover songs can be a blast — it’s a great way to rev up your crowd, and gives you the opportunity to show off your skills and make the song your own! Here, online voice teacher Emmanuel M. shares his tips to keep in mind…

For those of us who love to sing, there are some songs that we just fall in love with and can’t stop singing. Sometimes, this passion inspires us to record popular cover songs and upload them online for others to adore. However, sometimes there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other covers of that same song. So what can you do to make yours stand out?

Most popular cover songs can be categorized into one of two methods: singing the song like the original singer (the most common method) or creating a more personal rendition of the song. Whichever you choose is up to you, but here are some tips to help you decide which one is best for you:

– For the first method, your voice must stand out. Because your cover song will sound like the many others that follow this method, uniqueness and originality will fall mostly on your voice (i.e. does your voice stand out?). Chances are you don’t sound like the singer, but what matters is whether or not your voice sounds good.

– For the second method, the style and the way you sing the song must stand out, as well as your voice. Singers using this method create their own melodies, runs, and riffs; they add layers, harmonies, background vocals, and high notes. The key here is to make the song your own – to give it your own twist.

To make your choice easier, just think: Does your voice stand out (e.g. great vocals, tonality, or timbre), or does your musicality stand out (e.g. original melodies, harmonies, runs, and riffs)?

Singing Cover Songs Using the First Method

If you decide to sing your cover song like the original singer, the bonus is that this method is relatively easy, since you just follow along with what the singer is doing. However, if you copy another artist, your voice must stand out in order to make it an original cover. If your voice sounds like most other people’s, then this might not be the best choice for you, as there is a ton of competition among singers using this method. My advice is this: Know your voice and be honest. Does your voice truly stand out in this song? By that I mean, do people get the chills when you sing this song? Each of our voices is “made” for certain songs, and while sometimes your voice may be perfect for one song, it may not work well with another.

Singing Cover Songs Using the Second Method

If you decide to sing your cover song using your own flare, then you have the opportunity to make it really stand out. Singers with musicality, this is your forte! It’s time to own that song and give it your own spin. Make a unique rendition that pays homage to the singer, but also showcases your talent. Use your skills to your advantage. If singing low notes is your strength, then sing the song in a lower key or add lower harmonies. If belting is your strength, then add extra belts or sustain some notes in the background. Basically, do what you do best! This truly is your time to shine and to blow people away. Singers who use this method can also find different instrumental or acoustic versions of the original song. Although this is much harder to do (because most songs don’t have these instrumentals online), if you can find one, then this can be a huge advantage for you.

Additional Tips For All Cover Singers

– Play the music with your own instrument of choice (guitar, piano, etc.).

– Sing an a cappella version of the song using your own voice as the various “instruments.”

– Add harmonies, background vocals, and anything else you can do with your voice.

– Record yourself with a good camera. Videos of popular cover songs that show the singer singing get more attention than videos with just the song and a picture.

Ready to improve your singing skills? Working with a qualified vocal coach can give you the boost you need. Check out the live online classes here at TakeLessons Live and take your sound to the next level – for free!

Emmanuel Noriega

About the Author: Emmanuel M. teaches singing online and is a California State University Fullerton graduate. Learn more about Emmanuel here!

 

 

 

 

Comments

Dibakar Bala

July 13, 2017 at 3:55am

That's very true ! But I was thinking what if we had both the talent.... great stand-out voice as well as musical innovation into our cover song ;) that should become the turning point in the life of a singer.... won't it be ?

Smile pls

July 19, 2017 at 4:33am

Do we need license even though we play the music in own instrument?... Is it legal?

Jitendra Tiwari

April 10, 2018 at 11:36am

Yes its ligal but you will need to give original credit to the music company ,singer etc Best of luck

Vipin

January 23, 2018 at 7:07am

Great tips, Thanks for sharing.

Jaya

March 12, 2018 at 2:41pm

Please tell me how can we add the same background music of the song to our covers.and email me when you create a blog about this topic. It would be really greatful

curvlyn

September 08, 2018 at 4:40am

How to add the vocal to the music ?

Akuol

January 23, 2019 at 4:29am

How can I put credits on? Using Instagram to upload it for all my friends to enjoy

Elisa

March 15, 2019 at 5:00am

How can I add backing vocals with a simple camera?

Comments are closed

Need help learning Singing?

Try one of our most popular online Singing classes for free

Essential Vocal Performance Tips
Are you ready to take center stage? If not, don’t sweat! In this group singing class, we will help you gain the confidence and skills necessary to wow your next audience. Join in to receive valuable performance tips and strategies. You’ll also have a chance to practice your skills in front of the class if you’d like! With expert feedback from an instructor, you’re sure to grow in this supportive and interactive classroom.
Daily Warm Ups and Exercises
Don't know what warm-ups to do? Do you need someone to make sure that you are doing your warm-ups and exercises correctly? Then this is the class for you. Every day we will do different warm-ups and exercises to strengthen your voice.
Singing Workshop For Adults
This is a chance to try singing in front of an audience of your peers, with some feedback from the teacher. Please come warmed up and ready with an instrumental/karaoke track on a separate device (if you're watching on your computer, play the track from your phone). Although we will try to get to everyone, do know that it's on a first come, first served basis. Watchers welcome! We will discuss: Performance preparation Dealing with nerves Giving and taking criticism in a kind way Song interpretation For the purposes of creating an environment of peers, if you are under eighteen, I kindly ask that you do not sign up for this class. Instead, check out the Singing Workshop for Kids!
Singing Techniques for Ear Training
Singing is a combination of technique and artistry and this group singing class will teach you how to merge the two. Ear training is the ability to hear tones and translate them into vocal sound, and it is one of the most important singing techniques to master. Your vocal training in this class will include singing and identifying simple intervals. Once you’ve learned a little bit about ear training you can begin the fun part- adding your own artistry!
Voice Exercises for Singers & Vocal Anatomy
Singing with clarity and control is necessary for a good sound. This group singing class will cover vocal exercises for singers such as how to bring your voice forward into the face to improve your overall sound. This will be accomplished by looking at vocal anatomy and learning some voice exercises and warmups that can be practiced daily. These vocal training tips will help you use your voice to its fullest potential!
Full Vocal Warm-Up
In this class, we will complete a full vocal warm-up. Follow my lead as I teach you the elements of a proper vocal warm-up and run you through vocal exercise drills. These warm-ups are good for male and female voices of all ages, styles and ability levels, so let's get singing!
Discover Your Vocal Range and Breaks
Find your vocal range, learn what it means and if you can extend it. Learn how to figure out if a song "fits" and why it seems like you can sing high in some songs but not other songs. Let's talk about breaks, what they are and ways to navigate transitions. You may have been told your "break" is always on the same pitch. Actually, you have a choice and can train it to be in different places or make it basically seamless. You can even crack on purpose for an added vocal texture like a yodel flip or a cry sound. Bring a keyboard if you have one. I'll take individual volunteers, time permitting.
Daily Warm Ups and Exercises
Don't know what warm-ups to do? Do you need someone to make sure that you are doing your warm-ups and exercises correctly? Then this is the class for you. Every day we will do different warm-ups and exercises to strengthen your voice.